Laurene Davidson Obituary

Laurene DeWitt Davidson
Laurene DeWitt Davidson

May 25, 1939 - December 25, 2019
Born in Boscobel, Wisconsin
Resided in Marinette, Wisconsin

Obituary

Laurene DeWitt Davidson

Laurene Karen Olson DeWitt Davidson died at age 80 in Marinette, WI on December 25, 2019. Born in Boscobel, WI, to Irene and Lawrence Olson; Laurie, her sister Marilee Olson, and brother Paul Olson grew up in Reedsburg, WI. Their father was a teacher before becoming a high school principal and superintendent of schools. She attended Luther College, where she sang in the Nordic Choir under her lifelong friend, conductor Weston Noble. She transferred to Wagner College on Staten Island and studied voice and piano at Juilliard while interning as a teacher in Harlem. Her roommate, Elise Benedict Browne, became her lifelong friend. She married Dr. Robert James DeWitt, MD, in 1960. Bob completed his surgical residency in Burlington, VT where their daughters, Dawn Elise and Robin Jane, were born. Laurie’s early volunteerism included working with Maria von Trapp and Bernie Sanders.

The couple moved to Marinette, WI, in 1966. Laurie continued to volunteer, working with the United Migrant Opportunity Services, including with Cesar Chavez during the farmworkers strike. She was appointed to the State of Wisconsin Board of Health & Social Services and the State Personnel Board by Gov. Lucey in the 1970s. Among other awards, she was recognized with the State of Wisconsin Meritorious Service Award in 1974. After her husband died suddenly in 1972, she worked for Holt Instrument Laboratories before taking a job with F. Lee Bailey Esq, who had purchased Enstrom Helicopter Corporation. She worked at Enstrom for 33 years, spending most of those years as the Director of Human Resources.

Laurie married Bruce Davidson in 1979. She and Bruce lived on the shores of Green Bay for 40 years, enjoying the wildlife and community activities. Laurie will be remembered for her contributions to the Pioneer Presbyterian Church (Choir Director for many years), the Wisconsin and Marinette County historical societies, and for her 28 years of service on the Board of Trustees of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. She and Bruce were also active in Milwaukee where Bruce practiced law as a partner at the Quarles & Brady law firm. Every year at Christmas, for over 45 years, Laurie planned and led a caroling group, which sang for those who had lost loved ones or needed extra Christmas cheer. Laurie and Bruce celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in July. Laurie epitomized resilience, hospitality and inclusion, while living with an extraordinary passion for making her community a better place. She will be remembered as a caring friend by the many people who were touched by her love.

Laurie is survived by her husband, Bruce; sister Marilee and brother Paul; daughters Dawn and Robin; and 4 grandchildren (Morgan, Lauren, Alexander and William). Visitation will be held on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at Pioneer Presbyterian Church, 1947 Riverside Avenue in Marinette from 12 noon until 2 p.m. A memorial service will follow with the Rev. Jon Nelson officiating. Family and friends are invited to continue sharing remembrances of Laurie at a reception following the service. Laurie requested to be buried in the Olson family plot at Greenwood Cemetery in Reedsburg, WI.
In lieu of flowers, memorials would be appreciated to: Pioneer Presbyterian Church, 1947 Riverside Ave, Marinette, WI 54143; NWTC Educational Foundation, Inc, 2740 W Mason St, PO Box 19042, Green Bay, WI 54307; or the Marinette County Historical Society, P.O. Box 262, Marinette, WI 54143.

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Visitation
Pioneer Presbyterian Church
1947 Riverside Ave.
Marinette, Wisconsin USA 54143
Sunday, December 29, 2019
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Service
Pioneer Presbyterian Church
1947 Riverside Ave.
Marinette, Wisconsin USA 54143
Sunday, December 29, 2019
2:00 PM